Warriors vs. Nuggets recap: Andre Miller to the rescue for Denver in thrilling win over Golden State

Doug Pensinger

Andre Miller stole the show in Denver's 97-95 win.

"I have never hit a game-winning shot; never," said Andre Miller. "I've taken a couple and missed or turned the ball over. That was big for our first playoff game."

"I have never hit a game-winning shot; never" -Andre Miller, Nuggets

"On a night like tonight, I think I gotta say incredible play by Andre Miller," said Nuggets head coach George Karl. "The only thing I wish I had was another timeout or two so I could have rested him. It was a really intense game. Both teams played extremely engaged and well prepared."

Miller's last bucket got the win for the Nuggets. Had Miller missed that last one, the team would have gone to overtime, but no need.

"Wilson and I talked about maybe running into a slip," said Karl. "Because they were going to switch any pick-and-roll we threw at them. I think Andre might have instructed them that he just wanted to go. They were whispering to each other as they were going out. I wanted Andre with the ball, I wanted Ty on one side and Wilson on the other side - if something failed where they had to find somebody."

Miller finished the game with 28 points on 11-16 shooting to go along with 5 assists (and one made three-pointer). When rookie Draymond Green lined up to defend Miller tight on the perimeter - you knew the veteran was going all the way to the cup and he finished in beautiful fashion to seal the win.

"Draymond Green is an elite defender," said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. "I feel extremely comfortable putting him on anybody. Andre Miller made a heck of a play."

It was nice that the team was able to lean on him in Game 1, but they cannot expect to get such great performances out of the 37 year-old guard too many times this series. Right?!?

As a team Denver shot just 3-16 from three-point land. A few Nuggets players talked about being extremely tired at the conclusion to tonight's contest. Perhaps a bit of an adrenaline dump? You could see the Nuggets were a bit tired as many of their drives fell short of getting all the way to the rim and more than a few shots wound up getting blocked.

Andrew Bogut proved to be a force in the middle in his 31 minutes of action. He was being subbed out in short stints for much of the game - to help with his ankle problems - but he did a great job in the middle and on the boards. He had 14 rebounds and 5 offensive boards and was a pest all night, finishing with 4 blocks, as well.

The Warriors got an awful shooting night from Stephen Curry, who started the night 0-7 from the field with just one technical free throw accounting for his lone point. Curry didn't stay cold, but he didn't get hot either - he finished the night going 7-13 (7-20 overall) from the floor for 19 points (second most on the team) and hit an incredible three at the end that Wilson Chandler said could not have been defended much better.

The guy who was hurting the Nuggets was Klay Thompson. Karl chose to go with Lawson on Thompson for large stretches after the opening minutes and Thompson made Lawson pay. He scored 15 points in the first half and had 19 points heading into the fourth quarter. Andre Iguodala locked up Thompson (along with Corey Brewer and Chandler) and he finished the game with a team-high 22 points (just 3 points in the fourth).

The big blow on the night is David Lee's injury; diagnosed as a right hip flexor strain. X-Rays were negative, but he'll undergo an MRI tomorrow and his status for the series is not known at this time. You hope that he can return, you never want to see an injury take a player out of a series.

A guy that has stepped in and stepped us is Evan Fournier. The rookie came in and went right to work in the starting lineup. He started the game 3-5 shooting for 6 points. Fournier finished with 11 points, but was 0-4 the rest of the night - he got his points at the foul line where he was 5-6 on the night.

"In the first half yes," said Fournier. "In the second half, I could have been a little more aggressive. Next game."

JaVale McGee played 23 minutes, scored 9 points, and grabbed 6 rebounds. His productivity was needed.

"I'm an energy player and highlights," said JaVale McGee. "Getting everybody amped and I feel like I did that tonight."

McGee sold himself short. He was a big time difference maker in this game. He made the Warriors alter shots when they drove inside (teardrops are not easy to make) and he had a energetic yet calming effect on the game. Denver's entire bench won this game for them tonight. Corey Brewer came in and nailed some huge shots (4-12 for 10 points) and Miller was the offense.

Denver's starters just were not as effective as they usually are. I expect a bounce-back game from the Nuggets and it'll be interesting to see how both teams come out. Mark Jackson talked about putting this game behind his team so they can focus on Game 2. He was asked if he felt like this was a game for the taking since the Nuggets were without Kenneth Faried - he would not concede that point.

Playoff basketball ...

McGee on his bogus goaltend call:

"That's something they're not used to seeing," said McGee. "Every time they see it they feel a certain way about it, so they gotta call it at least once. I guess I got to do it two or three times for it to be okay."

Views you can use:

-Denver's bench out-scored Golden State's 49-27.

-The Nuggets got out-rebounded 13-7 on the offensive glass and the Nuggets had just 5 second chance points.

-Fastbreak points: Warriors 12 - Denver 15.

Opposition's take: GSOM

Box Score

***
Denver Nuggets Tickets

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

Sidenote: I was Tweeting during the game, stopped and minimized the screen and Denver started playing better. I shut my laptop and watched the game and Denver won. May not Tweet rest of series during the game! It was also awesome to see Mancar, Colin Neilson, and Russscot before the game!

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